My thoughts on The Last Waltz

I recently watched The Last Waltz (1978) for the second time. I saw it in a theater as one of five customers on an afternoon show when it was new.

Here are some random comments:

It was sad to see so many young people in 1976 and know what happened to them later. Many of the performers are no longer with us.

There have been criticisms that the film focused too much on Robbie Robertson and they are valid.

Most of the songs are not complete but they are skillfully edited and well-photographed. Criterion has done a fine job with the Blu-ray disc.

Neil Diamond still sucks.

Muddy Waters is great.

None of the Band performances is better than the original recording. I saw them four times between 1970-1974 and thought they were better earlier. They were certainly more animated by 1976.

I wish they had credited the horn section players and arrangers (or did I miss it).

It’s surprising that the big group singalong (“I Shall Be Released”) and the final actual song they played (“Don’t Do It” were not originals. They had plenty of songs they wrote they could have selected.

Dylan’s choice of songs was odd. The performance of “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” is outstanding. I have never liked “Forever Young”. On the album, the Dylan/Band songs include “Hazel” a mediocre song from Planet Waves. Why?

People smoking cigarettes

No unusual song choices for the Band performances. This is true of their live albums too. It’s always “The Weight”, “Stage Fright”, “The Shape I’m In’, “Up On Cripple Creek”. I would like to have seen “Look Out Cleveland” or “Sleeping” for example.

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